THE MEMORIAL SUPPER.
SOME friends of the truth in Georgia write that they have not celebrated the Memorial Supper since coming out of Babylon, and give as their reason: "We feel that our minds are consecrated, but our flesh is not, nor can be under surrounding circumstances. We are poor and have large families dependent and cannot deny them. Therefore we have abstained from this much desired blessing."
If we understand the brethren aright, they are laboring under some misapprehension. If we should wait until our flesh is perfect, none of us could partake of the Memorial Supper, for the Church of this age is not to expect perfection of the flesh; our perfection, if we are faithful, will be as spirit beings in the First Resurrection. Now we have the treasure of the new nature, the new mind or will, in earthen vessels,--all of them more or less marred, blemished by sin. But [R2283 : page 101] here we have benefit under the New Covenant, by the terms of which God has agreed to accept our perfect wills (backed by our best endeavors) AS OUR ABSOLUTE PERFECTION. All such can say with the Apostle, "The righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us"--we "walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit," and as close to it as possible.
Consecration does not imply the neglect nor the forsaking of our families;--unless in God's providence his adversaries and ours should be permitted to kill us, or captivate and imprison us, and thus forcibly hinder our care, or separate us;--as was frequently the case during the dark ages. Otherwise God instructs us that reasonable care for our families is his will, and properly our duty.
Full consecration to the Lord means a full surrender of our wills to God's will and of our bodies to our new wills. It means, consequently, the putting away of sin, to the best of our ability under the direction of the Lord's Word, and a cultivation daily and hourly of the holy spirit with its fruits and flowers of meekness, gentleness, purity, kindness,--Love.
So then, dear Brethren, by faith realize that the Lamb of God was slain for our sins, and that the merit of his sacrifice covers and reckonedly cleanses us from sin in God's esteem: and so believing, and with hearts, wills, fully given up to the Lord, come to his table and partake of his emblems with mingled meekness and courage.
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We have various questions respecting the fourteenth of Nisan, all of which arise from a failure to recognize that the "Passover," as understood by the Jews, refers to the Feast of Passover, and has no reference to the killing of the lamb on the 14th,--which is the thing we celebrate. With the Jew, the 14th was merely a day of preparation for Passover, and the eating of the lamb, and especially its killing, was only a part of that preparation. The Law provided that the lamb should be killed on the 14th of Nisan at even--or literally, between evenings. It was therefore within the scope of that requirement, if the lamb were killed and eaten on the 14th at any time after 6 P.M. of the 13th.
Let none of us forget to "put away all leaven"-- sin--in preparation for the eating of the Passover. Let us cleanse ourselves from all filth of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in the reverence of the Lord." (2 Cor. 7:1; 1 John 1:7.) Thus the remainder of life will be a feast of unleavened bread.
Do not make the serious mistake that leaven symbolizes merely false doctrine (Matt. 16:6-12); remember that it is also defined by the Apostle to signify a wicked disposition. Not merely a wickedness which would steal and lie and murder (the grosser forms of wickedness), but a form of wickedness much more likely to assail those who have even nominally accepted Christ; viz., "malice," producing hatreds, envyings, strifes, back-bitings, evil surmisings, and other works of the flesh and the devil. Let the spirit of love come into our hearts and purge us of the old leaven of malice. --See 1 Cor. 5:6-8; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; Tit. 3:3.
Let a man examine himself and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. Each should seek to make the most of the occasion in the interest of his own spiritual welfare. Let each apply afresh the cleansing blood, and renew his consecration to be faithful to the Master until death. Remember, too, the Master's words, "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation." "Brethren, pray for us!"